Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (“Absolutely Fabulous) is a 2016 British comedy film based on the television show of the same name. The film brings back much of the original cast, including the two leads, celebrated British actresses, Jennifer Saunders, who also wrote the film, and Joanna Lumley.
The film follows the mishaps and misadventures of Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley), two upper-crust, glamourous, self-indulgent women who, now in their sixties, are unable to deal with the fact that they’re aging not so gracefully and losing the benefits that come with youth.
The main plot of the film kicks off with Edina’s PR agency losing business with a dwindling rather dull clientele. When the opportunity strikes to snag fashion model and icon, Kate Moss, as a client, Edina and Patsy succumb to outrageous tricks and antics to get up close to Kate Moss. Of course, the pair leave a trail of damage, destruction and lost self-respect and dignity along the way, especially when Edina is suspected of having pushed the famous model off a balcony, leading to her suspected death.
Absolutely Fabulous is much like the TV series. Edina and Patsy, despite growing older, have not become any wiser nor do they have any decorum and self-respect that one would associate with women of their status and age. Their behaviour is as atrocious as one can possibly imagine, much to the dismay of Edina’s well put together and proper daughter, Saff, who is struggling to create a bond with her own daughter, Lola. Naturally, putting down rules for a teenage child is difficult, especially when they’re own grandmother entices them to break the rules, disregard responsibilities and have fun.
The film is funny. It is one of those type of comedies that don’t require too much focus and thinking and is instead, a film that invites viewers to sit back, relax, and laugh (or mock) the shocking actions and adventures of the characters. Both Edina and Patsy are ridiculous and notoriously wild in their own way, Patsy more so than Edina in my opinion. While initially funny, the coarse and rather distasteful humour in Edina and Patsy’s actions does grow tiresome as the film progresses. Nevertheless, I did chuckle anyway, except for Patsy’s sexualised scenes in which she believes she’s still attractive and desirable to men. Those scenes, I must admit, are cringeworthy. She’s old enough to be a grandmother!!
The lengths that the pair go to in order to continue their luxurious lifestyles are both impressive and rather daft. Their determination to ‘live the dream’ of parties, cocktails, babes and fashion is one that should be commended. I’m not sure anyone else in their right mind would go to such lengths. To be fair though, the lifestyle, the social events and networking aspects of Edina’s PR role did bring about some fond memories of my own role in PR and the dreams I had in becoming a well-respected marketing/PR professional. I do admit that the description of PR in the film is accurate. “What is PR?”, “Who really knows what PR is?”, “Who needs PR?” are all familiar questions that I hear in my line of work.
Despite its comedic moments, Absolutely Fabulous depicts the failings of Edina as a mother and grandmother. It’s interesting to watch as Edina essentially kidnaps her granddaughter to use her as a way into the ‘it’ crowds and later chooses to shirk her responsibilities by opting to remain in Cannes instead of returning home to face the consequences of her actions. Her parting goodbye to her daughter Saff isn’t as touching as it was probably meant to be, most likely because it was obvious that Edina would return to her old ways once the dust settles.
One of the best aspects of Absolutely Fabulous, however, is their inclusion of notable entertainment stars and fashion icons. From Jon Hamm (of Mad Men fame) and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones) to Stella McCartney and Kate Moss herself, Absolutely Fabulous delights and showcases the glitz and glamour of the fashion world. Not to mention the hilarious addition of Rebel Wilson, who is on a whole other level.
For fans of the series, fashionistas and those who enjoy British comedy, Absolutely Fabulous is a film worth having a glass of wine or even champagne to and will leave you with a nice, relaxed feeling. If you’re looking for a film to veg out to and laugh here and there with the girls on girls night, then this is one I would recommend. Just don’t expect a well thought out plot, thrilling story or any real substance.